tv Senator Dan Sullivan Discusses U.S. Missile Defense CSPAN April 7, 2017 1:37pm-2:36pm EDT
international studies helping discussion this morning on the future of u.s. missile offense. dan sullivan, a member of the armed services committee spoke at the gathering about the threats from north korea and other adversaries. this is an hour. >> think you for coming out, i am the senior fellow at the international security program here. we are delighted to kick off our fence this morning with senator dan sullivan, who has been here for two years. he is on several committees, car rushed, science and
presentation, veterans affairs, .nd armed services he previously served as alaska's attorney general and as commissioner for alaska's department of national sources. he has also served in the bush administration and as secretary of state for economic energy and business under secretary rice and on the security council staff as director in the international economic -- we aow senator sullivan is frequent visitor. he has been here several times since being in the senate, including the arctic, soft china sea, and china. this is the first time we have had him speak on missile defense, we are glad to do that. [applause] good morning everybody. i want to begin by once again
thanking csi yes. tom i want to thank you, great work that you are doing, great report. -- hammering, your team is dr., your team- is incredible. one of the things you are good at is making policy makers like myself get smarter on the issues. i've been trying -- since i came to the senate given how important it is for our country. thank you and thank all of you not totributing -- it is be able to speak on some of these issues. if you turn on a tv you might see a lot going on in the world right now. a little bit going on in the senate, too. a couple vote in hours, pretty important, historic in regards to the
supreme court. , weident down in florida had issues last night with regards syria, a lot going on. there's a lot going on in this area. be glad toi would take any questions. with regard to all the different things happening in the world right now. what we give you a sense of what i have been with regard to missile defense during after .earing we had a general testifying in a close and open session, commander of strategic command. general robberson head of north come. here is my biggest concern. have -- we all have a responsibility to address this. in the not-too-distant future,
not if but when, north korea will be able to test and have the capability to fire intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles that can hit the lower 48 united states. that is going to happen. we do not know when. classified estimates might be scarier than some of you imagine but it is going to happen. that is going to happen. we know that, we see that train coming. other thing we know, when that day comes, and there is a week to the press -- a leak to -- we will be in the line of fire way earlier than anyone else, let's say chicago. kim jong-un can press the button and new chicago. when that day happens, that will be all over the media, front plate -- page, blaring
headlines. there will be enormous pressure on whoever is in the white house to quote, do something about it. we cannot afford to allow this to happen. do something, mr. president, or madam president. we know it's going to happen. you guys know it! you have seen this before. on that day, i think the american people and media are going to look at policymakers, generals at the pentagon, the white house, certainly a congress, and they are going to ask three critical questions. are we safe? did we see this coming? have we been doing anything about it, and if so what? i think we need to start working right now to answer this question and to be able to say, yes we are safe, we did see this coming, and yes we have the
world's most robust and capable missile defense system that will with near certainty, shoot down any north korean missile and give our president strategic what he ornk through she has to do. we needed to start now. ffhink he or she can also point send a message -- he or she can also at that point sent a message saying, if you try this we have the capability to shoot down one-to-3-4 missiles, with almost 100% or 20, then we will massively retaliate against you -- certainty, then we will massively retaliate against you. even a guy who is massively -- you may have seen a twitter war between my friend cindy kim jong-un regime -- even
someone like that i think will be influenced to not do anything given those odds. you don't hurt us, you are gone. we need to get there. what i want to talk to you about today is that rapidly growing north--- north korean threat. alaska's role in our nation's missile defense, what we need to do more, and in terms of making missile defense, and then talking about the report being released to get -- today -- css has done such a service to the country digging into this and providing policymakers like myself the to getge and information smart on issues that really, really impact not only our country but our allies. let me start with north korea.
it read kimwe know jong-un has publicly stated his missilesevelop nuclear . let's be clear, this is a man who starts his own citizens. .here is inhumane labor camps he had his half-brother assassinated in a malaysian airport. we do not want this individual to be the one who can hold american cities hostage, but that is indeed the trajectory that i think we are on. these facts.ome of since assuming power, kim jong-un has conducted nearly three times as many missile tests and over twice as many nuclear tests as both his father and grandfather did in their 60 year reign. startling. while there has been several
missile tests failing -- test failures, there is also the notable successes -- has also .een notable successes on the nuclear side, the -- had's fifth test much an estimated yield of 50-20 kilotons, approximately the size of the nuclear bombs dropped on hiroshima. what does this mean? why is he testing so often? he often fails more than he succeeds, and how is that different from his father and grandfather? tuesday, theony on general height, the commander of the u.s. strategic command responded to a question i asked. he said, north korea is going fast -- past, test, fail, test fail succeed. they are learning, you can see them learning, because that is
the way you learn in the rocket business. that was our stretch, commander s stretch, commander -- tratcomm commander. on test convert -- conducted february 11 this year -- new -- the north koreans launched a new ballistic missile, a new north korean capability which can be rolled out and launched at a moments notice. that is a big advancements. solid rocket fuel versus liquid rocket fuel. that should concern all of us. when he did that, almost like clockwork, north korea tested yet another missile.
guard unit. let's think about that. these are citizen soldiers defecting -- protecting our nation. we have air station way out on the tip of the solution chain, shimmy island, the current home for the critical but rather old cobra dane. thankfully for the alaska national guard members, no one is assigned out there, far away from home. just contractors. finally and probably less well-known, there will soon be a missile defense site in alaska loteat theacicomex
on an island, where the missile fense ancyilbegin conductingestingf e fat missile system. thone currently being deployed to sou kor safeguardingur serviceembers in tt part of the world. we arero and alaa to have these important components of our nations missile defse. ju yesterday talking about that missile dense, general has testified that she has quote, high condence that the current system can defeat today's fro. today's threats. as you know, today's threats are not tomorrow's thrts, and they are moving fast. the threat of north korea is rapidly increasing. our nation's military rate -- leaders have testified that fact . it is time we are finally starting to listen.
thankfully, president trump is starting to listen and his team is listening. he recently ordered a quote, missile defense review to identify ways of strengthenihe highlighting priority funding areas,", which is -- end quote. the president and his team are looking at that as well. if you saw senator mccain's overview of how he thought we should be focused on upgrading our military, he has an entire section on missile defense as well. that review from the president's team is likely to come out later this year. starting today, how do we build up our nations missiles? how do we begin to outpace threats chasing them? what should be included in the presidents review? here are five ideas.
first, we must stay the course fleet.rnizing gpi this means investing in redesign kill vehicles for our av is, which will be a more reliable, lethal, and cost effective means to intercept warheads, and investing in the multiple object kill vehicle and other advanced technologies. it means investing in selectable 2-3 stage boosters to give our were fighters more battle space to successfully intercept enemy warheads, and it means continuing investments and command-and-control and ground-based ventures like l rvr . thankfully a lot of these items are currently on track and in the budget.
funding the construction of the lrt are as a mentioned, is happening right now. continuing to make some investments and advanced missile defense technology. in my view we need to do a lot more. second, we need to look to advancing our sensor capability, specifically with space-based sensors in the future. if we are ever to have a deathtent, truly birth to tracking of incoming enemy threats, space is the key answer. you hear this an open testimony from all the military leadership in the country right now.
need to develop an integrated layer space-based missile defense and we need to start now. this space-based system benefit homeland defense, it will also benefit and help integrate with regard to missile defense systems like fad -- thad. third, while we work on these first priorities, we need to dramatically increase our interceptor capability. 100 ground-based interceptors. april 2015 15 -- an report found that north korea could have as many as an hundred nuclear warheads by 2020. by the end of this year we will only have 44 interceptors total, then we will be launching a few more in the next few years for testing, and we will have less.
that does not add up. fort greeley was originally esigned for at least 100 gbi's. an admiral when he was testifying last year stated, 44 gbi's will not be enough because it will not outpace the threat and the number that can be shot at us as we project in the future. i believe it would be wise to make infrastructure investments bid build the future tbi -- g silos as we are also doing the investment and research necessary to excel more sophisticated sensors. it would also be prudent to buy boosters. these investments would help that when this is
declared operational, we will have everything we need to our ground-based interceptor capacity. with theo consistent heorities that general ighten has laid out. we can do these simultaneously. we have to. time is not on our >> if it is feasible, it might be a good idea to look into buying an additional 20 interceptors and stockpiled operational testing spares. we need to consider building and ease coast missile site not eyes --oing mobile gb
is. we need to tame's culture around missile-defense testing. when you are afraid to fail, it is challenging to quickly develop new technology. for instance, north korea's missile programs are advancing rapidly because they are clearly no longer afraid to fail. in the same hearing this past week, general height and had this to say about the fear of failure. those a man with a 60% failure rate. he was the greatest rocket scientist of all time. can you imagine if we had a 60% failure rate? what the newspapers would say. or for that matter, congress. in reality, we should be asking, was that a successful test?
did we learn what we needed to do to advance the system? are we advancing fast enough? are goingrth korea fast. that is how we should be thinking about this. ironically, our testing culture is similar to what's north korea previously had around its missile nuclear programs. here, i wanty every test to be a success, however, if we ever want to , we have to threat relearn how to fail. excepting failure is the only way we can learn had to succeed. along these lines, i worked in a bipartisan fashion last year with senator joe, to include an amendment to require a missile-defense agency to flight test our missile-defense at least once a year. these are the kinds of things wee congress is pushing so can get back culture of testing and learning.
it was our believe, and it is now law, that we should, as a conduct more regularly flight tests of our missile-defense systems. people forget about the men and women that protect us every day. i tried to mention who they wore -- were this morning. proves testing not only our system, but it gives our war fighters reliance, confidence, and high morality are you it demonstrates to our adversaries that if you launch against us, their attacks will never reach our shores. that is the key. finally, the fifth thing we need to focus on, as always, is we need to look at doing all of this with our allies. we have a lot of allies in this world. poland.japan, korea, i would like to say that we are an ally rich nation, and our
adversaries are potential adversaries are ally poor. it is probably our most strategic advantage we have rights now in a very challenging world. look around the world. china, russia, iran, north korea. nobody wants to be on that team. we have allies that we have been building for decades, if not centuries, and europe, asia-pacific, and like all issues, we need to be working closely with them to deepen the trust among each other and this strategic important comparative advantage that we have over any other country. conclude, by talking briefly about this eis report that is being released today. it does a great job of tracing all the high point and low points in the construction of
our nations homeland defense. the process to get your was not easy and the report makes that clear. as tom put in the report, it has been a "trend of high ambition followed by increasing commodity." high ambition has been evolving by the severity of the --eats of increasing modesty of the threats. increasing modesty has been based on budget. homeland missile-defense testing has declined 83.5%. shows,le, as the graphic north korea continues to test the systems in an alarming pace. last year i had the opportunity lead something with my senate
colleagues to north korea and to the shangri-la dialogue in with many of the defense and military leaders in the asia-pacific. when we arrived, and south korea great briefing from commander -- our commander there, general brooks. of the to the proximity threat as we to word the dmz. were of the a two dmz. tour of the dmz. north korea has been protected by great distance and a large ocean. it met is changing as north
korea has been developing its ballistic missiles and its missile programs. we have five gb eyes there -- bis there. the threat is rapidly advancing. i believe we are becoming exposed again. unless we continue to invest in missile-defense, or thinking on testing, and leslie choose to outpace instead of chasing the threats. americans might be forced to view north korea's rantings as more than just words. let me give you this. on this trip, you may have read
about, recently, a very high level north korean defector that had went to south korea. that was made public. spring, wep, last had read that this defector had come down to the south. highest level to factor yet and we had requested a meeting with him. we did receive it. it was quite an unusual meeting. , ball cap,or sunglasses, two people sitting right next to him allowing him foray or not say answers questions that the senators and i were asking him. two questions i asked him stood out starkly. it showed how we sometimes talk past each other and how the
mindset of someone who grew up in north korea, and was a leader in the system, was so different from ours. was,irst question i asked trying to understand the sense of the security apparatus, i asked him what would happen if there was the young man, say 22 or 23 years old, that went to the public square downtown with a bullhorn and assign -- and a words depicting the leader as an unkind leader. just protesting. what would happen to that guy? this gets translated and the defector looks at me strangely,
tilts his head, and he responds very quickly. the answer was, that's man does not exist in north korea. it was kind of an interesting way to look at it. i asked him the next question. i said, if there were a way that the united states could fundamentally, secure and guarantee the security of , wouldth korean regime kim jong-un and the leadership of the north korean regime give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities? and then translated again, he cocked his head, he thinks i was probably the idiot in the room, he looks at me like it was a dumb question. i got the response from the
interpreter. the answer again was very simple. he said, there can be no koreaty for no -- north without weapons. that was his answer. it gives you an insight of how the leadership thinks, and i'm here to say in the face of growing threats from north korea, i think there is going to be less security for the united states without a much more robust increased missile-defense for our nation. we look forward to working with you and all the experts in this room on helping us make sure we are able to achieve that. they give very much. [applause] -- thank you very much. [applause] senator, do you have time for a couple questions?
>> yeah, sure. >> i wanted to follow-up in the first instance on one of things you did early on, that was the bipartisan character. i wonder if you might describe the tone, the conversation about the north korea temperature .aking also about the missile and other things in response. >> if you came to an armed services hearing, just yesterday, this past week we were focused on general robinson , and three different hearings. toyou are dropped into want -- and dropped into one of those hearings and you didn't know that they lined up on different ways,of the dais, in many i think it would be difficult to tell who is who. senatorsenators like
king, senator peters: a senator very strong on missile-defense, always asking questions. on the republican side, senator cotton,self, senator also very focused on missile-defense. in the committee, it is like that. i will give you an even more striking example. i lead a letter to president they came out about four or five days ago before his visit with the chinese president. that we thinkut he is doing a good job on emphasizing the deployment of thad butts, please make sure this is put on the agenda with the chinese leadership.
we sent this around, i was not a hundred percent sure if any senators were interested, how many, who. if you look at the letter, this has to be the biggest amalgamation of strange bedfellows in u.s. senate history. it is everybody from some of the most conservative, to some of the most liberal senators and the united states senate. we had 32 senators that signed this letter. i think it gives you a sense of -- it was really happened half democrats and republicans. i think it gives you a sense, on this issue, there is a lot of .ipartisan support primarily because they go to the briefings, read the paper, and what i wasse of
talking about. an increase of threat that we know is coming. i believe, strongly, that it is our job to address it now. >> i was exit going to mention, in the letter, if i'm not mistaken, encouraged the president to stand up to china. -- expressed at lot of dissatisfaction with that's the appointment. i would like to talk about how that has analogues in europe, and homeland defense as well. china and russia say they don't like the stuff for various reasons. >> the reasons are various and , i think we should be skeptical on the kind of stated reason. clearly, and i have mentioned this to counterparts when i met with chinese officials, the united states clearly has the right to defend our troops and
our allies. and iainly hope anticipate president trump and i anticipate president trump in his meetings today, is going to talk to the president about threats and the need for them, meaning china, to do more to influence north korea's extremely erratic and dangerous behavior. we have every reason and right in the world to be able to protect our social's -- socials in the region -- soldiers in the region and our allies in the region. asia-pacific,the and for europe, and i think the chinese know that this is not targeted at them. privately, publicly, and, you know, one of the things i think was an important signal,
right at the beginning of the trump administration, was that , secretarytis mattis, took his first trip not to the middle east, not to nato, but to the asia-pacific. specifically to korea and japan. you may have seen the press on this but, he was very forceful in both countries on how we are going to deploy this. this is not meant to threaten china in any way, but we have every right in the world to defend our troops and our allies, and that is what the fat is all about. fad is all about. we drafted it, centered around, and sent it to president trump area i anticipate that he will. theou have really cover
waterfront is i think we will open to questions here. if you want to raise your hand and wait for the microphone, identify your self and keep your questions in the interrogative tents. it lets start with this gentleman here and move to the middle. last night we saw 59 cruise missiles land in syria. there is value to having technology that works and keeping it over long. of time, the question is, with regards to north korea and given the immediacy of the threat, does it make sense to you to support the existing technology we have as regard to kill intoles and not launch off kill vehicle technology. would you support it from a budget standpoint? >> i think it is a great
question and a really important question. with ary to get added wrapup of my remarks which is, we don't want to leave a gap and how we are moving forward in our missile-defense? so what does that mean? sensors, theyat kill vehicles, we clearly need to do more. we need to advance the technology, but what we shouldn't do is say, ok, everything is frozen, right now until we perfect the technology that enable us to feel more vehicles orl centers. then you're not only treading water, sometimes you're going backwards because the threat is still advancing. i think we need to look it doing this from a simultaneous way.
increase the capacity, which would clearly be more of it, in at the samele, time, making sure that capacity tothe same capability incorporate the new technology when it comes on and when it becomes available. essentially, walking and chewing gum at the same time with regard to missile-defense, but and even, in congress over at the pentagon, there is this notion of, we have a system now is were not going to do anything with it until we get a much more advanced system and where doing the technological research to get there. we're not going to do anything in between. i don't think that is acceptable and that is one of the reasons, -- and i think general height and is up in the same category. is to convince my colleagues as it will cost more
money. talk about ann we insurance policy that most americans, if they are were aware of the issues happening, would be glad to pay for. this is that kind of insurance policy. terms ofm, in continuing to develop capacity and technology, is a very small down payment for the day that i mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, which i know -- we all know is coming. we can look at the american people and say, we got your back, you are protected, we saw this coming. i think it is our responsibility to do that. >> gentleman right here in the middle. >> thank you. john harper with national defense magazine. has been a lot retort in -- a lot of a number of years on missile-defense agency's budgets
being in decline for a while. do you think we are actually going to see increased appropriation for missile-defense and will that trend be reversed or do you think we will keep going along saying, missile-defense is good but we will not fund it? >> i do think we will see it. it is a great question, and i certainly can't be sure, but the asson that i think we will, we were talking earlier, there is strong bipartisan support. that weorking on a bill are likely going to introduce in the next month that has a number of the things that i talked about. we're going to try to get a number of democrats and republicans on board. there is already bipartisan the threatere's increasing, and we know that, our constituents of people that we serve are starting to see that and wake up to its. for so long, the nuclear threat
of north korea has always been a regional threats. , japan, okl -- korea we know it is a problem. we have troops over there, but it really doesn't impact my daily life when i'm going to work in chicago, or sioux city. again, i think that will change at some point. we need to be ready for it. think we are to see a white ,ouse that is more supportive with all due respect of president obama's administration varied they came in and thought it missile-defense was a starry eyed program that didn't deserve the money. you know what happened during the early years of the obama administration, all that funding got cut. after too many briefings in the for theice, i think, president on the north korean
threats, you start to see that this is a serious threat. even they started to increasing. i think the trend lines bottom out and aretomed coming back. i'm confident and you can probably tell i will be somebody pushing this. i think this will be bipartisan support to do it. >> there were a couple more in the back there. >> morning senator. thanks for sharing your insights with us. i was wondering, do you have any views on the potential role on assure inand aegis homeland defense or to protect our regional allies? questionit is a great and i am someone who believes in public official, and you are little over your skis,
you don't try to bs, you try to recognize you might be over your skis. what i do know, the integrated layer approach with aegis and thad and we have back home, is very important. that is why we talked about sensors as a way to have persistent surveillance that can missile-defense capabilities, and more fully integrate them. in regards to the technological aspect of how that is done, i think i am much better and safer to leave that for the next panel. it is a great question. >> right here in the front. you mentioned that the dprk said north korea could have no
dprk said north korea could have no defense youout weapons very do think we should roll it back entirely to no nukes and no way?les or another having at support increasing north korea with the leadership there currently. wasremember, the question security for the regime if you fully completely the nuclear self. denuke yourself. he didn't get the question because, in their minds, that is a two plus two equals five that doesn't compute to them. it was very clear to me that he
didn't even, he kind of looked at me like out was asking a stupid question. maybe from their perspective, i was. it wasn't stupid from my perspective, so. [laughter] and -- ieneral avis was president reagan's first sti director. >> thank you for that. i the great privilege and think it's due to all the people in this room policy support, congressional support, all of that's that we are where we are today. it is very gratifying to see that. when you talk about the north weean threats, many times time on what we have to outline what that threat could look like from that small
nation, which we can get a fair amount of outside information from. isn't there another aspect of the threat where, they begin to sell this because they have absolutely no cash crop there. but nuclear weapons would immediately put money into pocket.ip's when that goes, it won't be as observable and the threat will be much broader. >> yes, i couldn't agree with you more. thank you for your work under president reagan. , another reason why asould do a freeze completely unacceptable or the very reason that you mentioned. they have the scientists, capabilities, and, let's face it, they have a history of doing
,xactly what you just mentioned which is trying to sell their to gaingy and expertise revenue. think they almost certainly will continue to try to do that. they are probably trying to do that that's we speak. it is another element of this which is certainly a conundrum. i'm not up your i have all the answers, but a stronger missile-defense certainly is one of them. and the more engaged china is another element and, hopefully, we will see progress on that issue today at the summit between the two presidents. time isr i know your tight but i do want to follow-up up with one additional thing. you mentioned the 300. >> yeah. >> is there any sort of thoughts
or recommendations you might fighter?elp the war of -- i amaid, i am very proud of that unit. those guys and women are 24/7, christmas day, out there, working it and protecting all of us. a bit of a remote part of the state, it gets cold there. for those of you been up to 40 really. greeley. we have to be tough. i was tough -- i was able to people to get upgrades to their gym and some of their facilities on the base to take care of some of those men and women that are doing a great job. one of the things that is
important, which is why when i tried to do it on the community -- committee, i did it with you do the shout out to them. let them know that you know whether they are doing. most men and women that join the matter of fact i'm sending my research down -- .ecess down and camp lujan go get a haircut tomorrow and make sure this mop top, i could not show up in a marine corps uniform with his very long hair beard. [laughter] womendge to those men and to let them know you know what they are up to, how important it is to the country, you appreciate their service, and the 24/7 element of that is really important.
and then, of course, we have to fund them and let them know that you can talk all you want, but if the facilities are decrepit and there is no place to spend your time constructively when , you know,l time that speaks volumes to. i know you guys all do that. what i tried to do is remind others that we should be proud of these young men and women, because they are doing a great job. >> i know you have drabek to the hill but, thank you very much. >> yeah i know problem, thank you. [applause] just want to invite folks to get a cup of coffee and we will come back in five minutes and have our panels talk about the report and have a discussion.